More than two years after what would be his final PGA Tour victory, Arnold Palmer’s final victories on the “regular” tours were on foreign soil. On this date in 1975, he won the British PGA. It came about a month after he’d won the Spanish Open. Arnold’s final victory against the young guys would come in the 1980 Canadian PGA, the same year the Senior PGA Tour began, opening a new competitive arena for him.
On this date in 1948, Ben Hogan, who was then supplementing his income with a club pro job in Hershey, Pennsylvania, won the 30th PGA Championship in a 7-and-6 defeat of Mike Turnesa at the Norwood Hills Country Club in St. Louis.
On this day in 1910, Jimmy Demaret was born in Houston. Often described as colorful and Jaunty Jimmy, Demaret had an outgoing personality and elegant wardrobe that was admired by fans and peers. He won the Masters three times and later in life ran Champions Golf Club with Jack Burke Jr. in Houston. Demaret notably appeared in an I Love Lucy episode in the 1950s, and did a great deal of commentary on TV golf, especially the Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf series.
On this date in 1963, Jack Nicklaus, in his second PGA Tour season, made his first hole-in-one of his pro career, which helped him get into a seven-way tie for the first-round lead with a 67 at the Memphis Open. Already a two-time major champion, Nicklaus aced the 185-yard but had to settle for a tie with seven others at 3-under-par 67s including hometown favorite Cary Middlecoff for the first round lead in the Memphis Golf tourney. Nicklaus aced the 185-yard third hole with a 6-iron, the ball landing right of the hole but kicking left. Tony Lema, one of those tied for the lead, ended up the tournament winner.
The largely unheralded Horton Smith was born on this date in 1908 in Springfield, Missouri. Despite winning two Masters titles, and authoring a well received putting instructional book, he had a career in relative obscurity. He was closely aligned with the PGA of America and did much to promote the game. He received his just reward, however, by being elevated into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The first Curtis Cup Match was played on this date in 1932. The United States team defeated Great Britain 5.5 to 3.5 at Wentworth Golf Club in England. The two big amateur stars in women’s golf matched up twice on the day. American Glenna Collett Vare and England’s Joyce Wethered split their matches; Vare and teammate Opal Hill won a team match 1 up, but Wethered beat Vare in singles 6 and 4.
On this date in 1962, the great Patty Berg won the Muskogee Civitan Open on the Muskogee Country Club in Oklahoma. She shot four under par for the tournament to win by two shots over Shirley Englehorn and Ruth Jessen. It was the 57th and final tour victory in Berg’s marvelous career.
In one of the fastest earnings paces for its time, on this date in 1968, Billy Casper won the Colonial Invitation tournament in Fort Worth, which gave him $100,000 in earnings for the year in less than five full months.
On this date in 1964, Arnold Palmer won the Oklahoma City Open after shooting a fourth-round 67. His 277 score for the week earned him $5,800. The victory came five weeks after he won the final major of his career, the Masters Tournament, April 9-12, with a four-round line of 69-68-69-70—276, worth a top prize of $20,000.
On this date in 1951, it’s traditionally noted that the USGA and R&A of St. Andrews concurred on abolishing the stymie from the game, which took place when one golfer’s ball blocked the path of another player’s ball on the putting green, forcing the golfer furthest away to play around the closer ball.
On this date in 1982, Kathy Whitworth won the Lady Michelob LPGA event in Roswell, Ga., at nine under par, by four shots. It was her 83rd victory, putting her in the all-time lead.
The World Golf Hall of Fame golfer and broadcaster Ken Venturi was born on this date in 1931. We also make note of the 1964 U.S. Open champion’s death date since it was on a May 17, in 2013, two days after turning 83.
On this date in 1964, Arnold Palmer shot a 72 in the Oklahoma City Open in the first round, then he shot 69-69-67 for a four-round total of 277 and first place. His take-home pay: $5,800. Allow this personal note: today would have been the 91st birthday of my father, Donald C. Schrock, who passed away in 2003.
On this date in 1973, during the great Judy Rankin’s prime years, she won the Lady Carling Open in Baltimore, by four shots over Sandra Haynie. It was the second of two victories in a row for Judy, who had won the Raleigh Classic the previous week.
Two major champions were born on this day in the same year, 1970. Canadian Mike Weir was born in 1970 and among his pro tour victories is the 2003 Masters. Also, Jim Furyk was born on this day, and he too won a major in 2003: The U.S. Open.
On this date in 1959, Arnold Palmer shot a fourth-round 69 to cap a 273 four-round score at the Oklahoma City Open that earned first place. It was his second victory of the year and worth $3,500.
Ninety years ago on this date, Walter Hagen won the Open Championship at Muirfield, Scotland. His final 72-hole score was 292, 12 over par, but he won by six shots over runner-up Johnny Farrell. Leo Diegel was another shot back in an American sweep of the top three positions.
On this date in 1870, Harry Vardon, the only six-time winner of The Open Championship, was born on the Channel Islands. He also won the 1900 U.S. Open.
The transformative figure of Francis Ouimet was born on this date in 1893 in Brookline, Massachusetts. It was there that the lifetime amateur won the 1913 U.S. Open in a playoff over two British greats at The Country Club and established America as a place where champion golfers could come from.
A fast-play program called Operation Go-Golf is revealed to be a success at nine muny courses in Los Angeles in 1968, with 4,240 persons being tested for average playing time, which is tabulated at 3 hours 8 minutes.